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Chevening

On Thursday 20 September 2018, the British High Commissioner hosted a farewell reception for Mr Abdul Azim Bin Haji Abd Kassim who has been awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship for the 2018–2019 and will be pursuing his postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom next month. The farewell event was held at the Residence of the [...]

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On Thursday 20 September 2018, the British High Commissioner hosted a farewell reception for Mr Abdul Azim Bin Haji Abd Kassim who has been awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship for the 2018–2019 and will be pursuing his postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom next month. The farewell event was held at the Residence of the British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam.

Mr Azim Kassim, a Research Officer in the Directorate of Defence Policy at the Ministry of Defence, will be pursuing a MA in Security, Terrorism and Insurgency at The University of Leeds, in the United Kingdom.

Mr Azim Kassim said, “No words can truly describe how much the Chevening Scholarship means to me. This is a great honour and one in which I acknowledge is far from an individual effort.

This award would not have been possible without the lessons learned from my respected mentors and colleagues; both from when I was a reporter at a local newspaper, and now with the Ministry of Defence.”

Mr Azim Kassim explained, “The University was chosen based on its excellent student satisfaction levels in which it was named the Sunday Times University of the Year in 2017. It also ranked in the Top 10 Universities in the UK, according to The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and in the Top 100 of the QS World University Rankings for 2019.

The course was selected because it will enhance my understanding on national, regional and global security threats. My hope is that this course will be of relevance to my role and responsibilities at the Ministry of Defence particularly to contribute towards providing reliable and holistic policy analysis to benefit my organisation and my country.

Upon my return, I will do my best to ensure that my learning and knowledge is shared, and to continue to strengthen the defence relations between Brunei Darussalam and the United Kingdom. This scholarship is also a contribution towards Vision 2035 in its pillar of achieving a highly skilled workforce.

The British High Commissioner H.E. Richard Lindsay, said: “It is a great pleasure to be able to present the 2018-19 Chevening Scholarship to Azim Kassim. This competitive scholarship is given to individuals who have proven that they have the potential to be future leaders. Azim will be one of over 2000 Chevening Scholars who receive this award for a fully-funded year of postgraduate study in the UK each year. He will also be joining a global alumni network of over 50,000 Chevening Scholars. In this country, the Brunei Chevening Youth Forum is a very active alumni group which is dedicated to sharing their expertise and discussing how to meet some of the biggest challenges facing the country. In due course, I am confident that Azim will use his experiences to make a very significant contribution back into Brunei. Many congratulations to him, and to his very supportive family and colleagues”

Mr Azim was welcomed into the Chevening family by the President of the Brunei Chevening Alumni Association YB Khairunnisa, who was a Chevening scholar herself in 2016-17, together with other alumni members. (picture attached).

The High Commissioner said that applications for the 2019/20 Chevening Scholarships were currently open to citizens and permanent residents of Brunei Darussalam. The ideal candidate would be in early to mid career, with at least 2 years’ work experience and an excellent record of achievement with evidence of leadership qualities. Applicants should be committed to returning to contribute to Brunei’s social and economic development by using the skills and knowledge acquired in the UK.

All those interested in applying for the 2019/2020 Chevening scholarship should visit www.chevening.org/Brunei where potential applicants can find information on how to apply, register interest to receive alerts about their application and candidate guidance, as well as to see the priority subjects for Chevening Scholarships. The deadline for applications is 6 November 2018.

photo_2018-09-25_11-26-33

On Thursday 20 September 2018, the British High Commissioner hosted a farewell reception for Mr Abdul Azim Bin Haji Abd Kassim who has been awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship for the 2018–2019 and will be pursuing his postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom next month. The farewell event was held at the Residence of the British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam.

Mr Azim Kassim, a Research Officer in the Directorate of Defence Policy at the Ministry of Defence, will be pursuing a MA in Security, Terrorism and Insurgency at The University of Leeds, in the United Kingdom.

Mr Azim Kassim said, “No words can truly describe how much the Chevening Scholarship means to me. This is a great honour and one in which I acknowledge is far from an individual effort.

This award would not have been possible without the lessons learned from my respected mentors and colleagues; both from when I was a reporter at a local newspaper, and now with the Ministry of Defence.”

Mr Azim Kassim explained, “The University was chosen based on its excellent student satisfaction levels in which it was named the Sunday Times University of the Year in 2017. It also ranked in the Top 10 Universities in the UK, according to The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and in the Top 100 of the QS World University Rankings for 2019.

The course was selected because it will enhance my understanding on national, regional and global security threats. My hope is that this course will be of relevance to my role and responsibilities at the Ministry of Defence particularly to contribute towards providing reliable and holistic policy analysis to benefit my organisation and my country.

Upon my return, I will do my best to ensure that my learning and knowledge is shared, and to continue to strengthen the defence relations between Brunei Darussalam and the United Kingdom. This scholarship is also a contribution towards Vision 2035 in its pillar of achieving a highly skilled workforce.

The British High Commissioner H.E. Richard Lindsay, said: “It is a great pleasure to be able to present the 2018-19 Chevening Scholarship to Azim Kassim. This competitive scholarship is given to individuals who have proven that they have the potential to be future leaders. Azim will be one of over 2000 Chevening Scholars who receive this award for a fully-funded year of postgraduate study in the UK each year. He will also be joining a global alumni network of over 50,000 Chevening Scholars. In this country, the Brunei Chevening Youth Forum is a very active alumni group which is dedicated to sharing their expertise and discussing how to meet some of the biggest challenges facing the country. In due course, I am confident that Azim will use his experiences to make a very significant contribution back into Brunei. Many congratulations to him, and to his very supportive family and colleagues”

Mr Azim was welcomed into the Chevening family by the President of the Brunei Chevening Alumni Association YB Khairunnisa, who was a Chevening scholar herself in 2016-17, together with other alumni members. (picture attached).

The High Commissioner said that applications for the 2019/20 Chevening Scholarships were currently open to citizens and permanent residents of Brunei Darussalam. The ideal candidate would be in early to mid career, with at least 2 years’ work experience and an excellent record of achievement with evidence of leadership qualities. Applicants should be committed to returning to contribute to Brunei’s social and economic development by using the skills and knowledge acquired in the UK.

All those interested in applying for the 2019/2020 Chevening scholarship should visit www.chevening.org/Brunei where potential applicants can find information on how to apply, register interest to receive alerts about their application and candidate guidance, as well as to see the priority subjects for Chevening Scholarships. The deadline for applications is 6 November 2018.

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On Monday 15 September 2014, the British High Commission hosted a farewell reception for Siti Nurfateha Abdullah who has been awarded a prestigious Chevening Scholarship for the 2014–2015 session and will be pursuing her postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom this month. The farewell event was held at the Residence of the British High Commissioner [...]

On Monday 15 September 2014, the British High Commission hosted a farewell reception for Siti Nurfateha Abdullah who has been awarded a prestigious Chevening Scholarship for the 2014–2015 session and will be pursuing her postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom this month. The farewell event was held at the Residence of the British High Commissioner to Brunei.

British High Commissioner David Campbell with Siti Nurfateha Abdullah and her family

British High Commissioner David Campbell with Siti Nurfateha Abdullah and her family

Siti Nurfateha Abdullah will be pursuing a Masters in Anthropology of Development and Rights at Goldsmiths, University of London. Employed as a Research Officer in the Prime Minister’s Office, Nurfateha selected Goldsmiths as its Anthropology Department is voted among the best in the UK.

Nurfateha, who is also the co-founder of the non-profit organisation Bruneians:Read and webzine Songket Alliance, said

“Goldsmiths’ Anthropology Department takes a critical view of developed countries’ approach to development. Therefore, discussions and classes will be stimulating as it does not view any one philosophy as absolute, but also takes into consideration societal differences.

Goldsmiths advocates an ethnographic approach to learning about society and basic human rights like education, women’s and children issues, and healthcare. This approach is useful to keep in mind as I will be able to apply what I’ll be learning to Brunei without forgetting its policies, culture and philosophy.

Having previously taken my Bachelor’s Degree at the National University of Singapore, going to the UK will be my first direct exposure to the British education system.

Being awarded the Chevening scholarship was unexpected. I’ve looked up to and been in awe of some of the previous Brunei recipients of the scholarship, so I’m honoured to be a part of that line-up. I’m really looking forward to networking with scholars from other countries’ too! I hope to come back to Brunei bursting with ideas for my work at the Prime Minister’s Office and projects I’m a part of.”

British High Commissioner David Campbell with Siti Nurfateha Abdullah and Brunei Chevening Alumni

British High Commissioner David Campbell with Siti Nurfateha Abdullah and Brunei Chevening Alumni

The British High Commissioner Mr David Campbell, said:

“I congratulate Siti Nurfateha Abdullah on joining our long list of prestigious Bruneian Chevening scholars. 2014 marks not only Brunei’s 30th Anniversary of Independence, but also the 30th anniversary of the British Government’s Chevening Programme. Thirty years of scholarships around the world have created an influential global network of more than 43,000 Chevening alumni in over 150 countries.”

Applications for the 2015/16 Chevening Scholarships are currently open for citizens and permanent residents of Brunei Darussalam. The ideal candidate would be in early to mid career, with at least 2 years’ work experience and an excellent record of achievements which show evidence of leadership qualities. Applicants should be committed to returning and contributing to Brunei’s social and economic development by utilising skills and knowledge acquired in the UK.

All those interested in applying for 2014/2015 Chevening scholarship should visit www.chevening.org/Brunei where potential applicants can find out more information on how to apply, register interest to receive alerts about application and candidate guidance, as well as see the priority subjects for Chevening Scholarships. The deadline for applications is Saturday 15 November 2014.

On Monday 15 September 2014, the British High Commission hosted a farewell reception for Siti Nurfateha Abdullah who has been awarded a prestigious Chevening Scholarship for the 2014–2015 session and will be pursuing her postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom this month. The farewell event was held at the Residence of the British High Commissioner to Brunei.

British High Commissioner David Campbell with Siti Nurfateha Abdullah and her family

British High Commissioner David Campbell with Siti Nurfateha Abdullah and her family

Siti Nurfateha Abdullah will be pursuing a Masters in Anthropology of Development and Rights at Goldsmiths, University of London. Employed as a Research Officer in the Prime Minister’s Office, Nurfateha selected Goldsmiths as its Anthropology Department is voted among the best in the UK.

Nurfateha, who is also the co-founder of the non-profit organisation Bruneians:Read and webzine Songket Alliance, said

“Goldsmiths’ Anthropology Department takes a critical view of developed countries’ approach to development. Therefore, discussions and classes will be stimulating as it does not view any one philosophy as absolute, but also takes into consideration societal differences.

Goldsmiths advocates an ethnographic approach to learning about society and basic human rights like education, women’s and children issues, and healthcare. This approach is useful to keep in mind as I will be able to apply what I’ll be learning to Brunei without forgetting its policies, culture and philosophy.

Having previously taken my Bachelor’s Degree at the National University of Singapore, going to the UK will be my first direct exposure to the British education system.

Being awarded the Chevening scholarship was unexpected. I’ve looked up to and been in awe of some of the previous Brunei recipients of the scholarship, so I’m honoured to be a part of that line-up. I’m really looking forward to networking with scholars from other countries’ too! I hope to come back to Brunei bursting with ideas for my work at the Prime Minister’s Office and projects I’m a part of.”

British High Commissioner David Campbell with Siti Nurfateha Abdullah and Brunei Chevening Alumni

British High Commissioner David Campbell with Siti Nurfateha Abdullah and Brunei Chevening Alumni

The British High Commissioner Mr David Campbell, said:

“I congratulate Siti Nurfateha Abdullah on joining our long list of prestigious Bruneian Chevening scholars. 2014 marks not only Brunei’s 30th Anniversary of Independence, but also the 30th anniversary of the British Government’s Chevening Programme. Thirty years of scholarships around the world have created an influential global network of more than 43,000 Chevening alumni in over 150 countries.”

Applications for the 2015/16 Chevening Scholarships are currently open for citizens and permanent residents of Brunei Darussalam. The ideal candidate would be in early to mid career, with at least 2 years’ work experience and an excellent record of achievements which show evidence of leadership qualities. Applicants should be committed to returning and contributing to Brunei’s social and economic development by utilising skills and knowledge acquired in the UK.

All those interested in applying for 2014/2015 Chevening scholarship should visit www.chevening.org/Brunei where potential applicants can find out more information on how to apply, register interest to receive alerts about application and candidate guidance, as well as see the priority subjects for Chevening Scholarships. The deadline for applications is Saturday 15 November 2014.

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Chevening Scholarships are the UK government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations. The Scholarships offer the opportunity to study for a one-year Master’s degree at any of the UK’s leading universities, and are awarded to outstanding established or emerging leaders across a wide range of fields including [...]

Chevening Poster

Chevening Scholarships are the UK government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations. The Scholarships offer the opportunity to study for a one-year Master’s degree at any of the UK’s leading universities, and are awarded to outstanding established or emerging leaders across a wide range of fields including politics, government, business, the media, the environment, civil society, religion, and academia.

The programme provides a unique opportunity for leaders of the future to build a global network of continuing professional significance and also to establish social, cultural, academic or commercial partnerships with the UK.

Chevening Scholars come from 118 countries worldwide (excluding the USA and the EU), and this year the Scholarships will support over 600 individuals. There are over 42,000 Chevening alumni around the world who together comprise an influential and highly regarded global network.

There are currently 44 Bruneian Chevening Alumni including yours truly. Last year there were two Chevening Scholars from Brunei, namely Nor Alizulrainee Ali Yusop and Abdul Matiin Hj Muhammad Kassim, and this year we will be sending one Chevening Scholar, Nurliyana Fatin Arifin to study at King’s College London. Here’s my Chevening experience.

Applications for Chevening Scholarships must be submitted online at www.chevening.org. Applicants should read the online guidance and demonstrate how they meet the Chevening selection criteria before submitting an application. Further details of priority subject areas for Brunei are available on the Brunei country page at www.chevening.org/brunei. The closing date for applications is Friday 15 November 2013.

Chevening 30 Years

Chevening Poster

Chevening Scholarships are the UK government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations. The Scholarships offer the opportunity to study for a one-year Master’s degree at any of the UK’s leading universities, and are awarded to outstanding established or emerging leaders across a wide range of fields including politics, government, business, the media, the environment, civil society, religion, and academia.

The programme provides a unique opportunity for leaders of the future to build a global network of continuing professional significance and also to establish social, cultural, academic or commercial partnerships with the UK.

Chevening Scholars come from 118 countries worldwide (excluding the USA and the EU), and this year the Scholarships will support over 600 individuals. There are over 42,000 Chevening alumni around the world who together comprise an influential and highly regarded global network.

There are currently 44 Bruneian Chevening Alumni including yours truly. Last year there were two Chevening Scholars from Brunei, namely Nor Alizulrainee Ali Yusop and Abdul Matiin Hj Muhammad Kassim, and this year we will be sending one Chevening Scholar, Nurliyana Fatin Arifin to study at King’s College London. Here’s my Chevening experience.

Applications for Chevening Scholarships must be submitted online at www.chevening.org. Applicants should read the online guidance and demonstrate how they meet the Chevening selection criteria before submitting an application. Further details of priority subject areas for Brunei are available on the Brunei country page at www.chevening.org/brunei. The closing date for applications is Friday 15 November 2013.

Chevening 30 Years

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(L – R) Ruth Garnet Maran, Nor Alizulrainee Ali Yusop, Abdul Matiin Kasim and Francisco Borquez Electorat after finishing the race On Sunday 14 July 2013, two Chevening scholars from Brunei, Nor Alizulrainee Ali Yusop and Abdul Matiin Kasim, completed the British 10K London Run. The British 10K London Run took place in the heart [...]

(L – R) Ruth Garnet Maran, Nor Alizulrainee Ali Yusop, Abdul Matiin Kasim and Francisco Borquez Electorat after finishing the race
(L – R) Ruth Garnet Maran, Nor Alizulrainee Ali Yusop, Abdul Matiin Kasim and Francisco Borquez Electorat after finishing the race

On Sunday 14 July 2013, two Chevening scholars from Brunei, Nor Alizulrainee Ali Yusop and Abdul Matiin Kasim, completed the British 10K London Run. The British 10K London Run took place in the heart of central London with its route passing many of the capital’s truly world class historic landmarks.

Starting on Piccadilly outside The Guards & Calvary Club, runners passed the new WW2 Bomber Command Memorial which was unveiled by HM Queen Elizabeth 11 in June 2012, two weeks prior to The British 10k London Run in Diamond Jubilee Olympic year with Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner as backdrop.

Runners also passed The Ritz, St. James’s Palace, Trafalgar Square, the magnificent St. Paul’s Cathedral, the unique London Eye, the world’s most famous clock Big Ben, the British Houses of Parliament, the historic Westminster Abbey before finishing on Whitehall (the portal of British Government) at the junction of Royal Horse Guards and Banqueting House after passing Downing Street  (the official London residence of British Prime Ministers) and The Cenotaph, the national memorial to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Nor Ali and Matiin ran the British 10K, alongside two other Chevening scholars Ruth Garnet Maran and Francisco Borquez Electorat, for a charity called ‘SOS Children: Sponsor a Child’, a UK based charity aimed at looking after and caring for children who have lost their parents through war, famine, disease or poverty.

Nor Ali said, “Participating in the British 10K London Run was truly an amazing experience! As an avid marathon runner myself, I feel blessed to be a part of this prestigious event, as well as fortunate to be able to run for the very first time across one of the world’s greatest route through the heart of the City of Westminster and the City of London. Despite the summer heat and the challenge of running alongside 30,000 runners, it still felt great knowing that we were raising funds for the benefit of SOS Children together in a team. It really made it a worthwhile experience for me and for three other Chevening scholars. I’m definitely going to cherish these moments, and I’m glad that I was able to use my time here to help SOS Children make a bigger difference in the lives of underprivileged children under their care.”

Our two boys running
Our two boys running

Matiin said, “’The British 10K experience was rewarding and exhilarating! The run is a popular summer event held in the beautiful city of London. Our Chevening team was lucky enough to be a part of this and why I say this is rewarding for me is because it gave me the chance to be run for a charitable cause: the SOS Children Charity which supports  children in need through education and improving their livelihoods. I ran alongside my fellow Chevening scholar, Norali, and two other Chevening scholars. We started our run at the Wellington Arch, passed the Piccadilly area, along the Embankment and River Thames overlooking the London eye and making a u-turn to the Parliament Building and Westminster Abbey to the finishing line! Overall, a great running experience with glimpses of the stunning London monuments and landmarks along the way.”

(L – R) Ruth Garnet Maran, Nor Alizulrainee Ali Yusop, Abdul Matiin Kasim and Francisco Borquez Electorat after finishing the race
(L – R) Ruth Garnet Maran, Nor Alizulrainee Ali Yusop, Abdul Matiin Kasim and Francisco Borquez Electorat after finishing the race

On Sunday 14 July 2013, two Chevening scholars from Brunei, Nor Alizulrainee Ali Yusop and Abdul Matiin Kasim, completed the British 10K London Run. The British 10K London Run took place in the heart of central London with its route passing many of the capital’s truly world class historic landmarks.

Starting on Piccadilly outside The Guards & Calvary Club, runners passed the new WW2 Bomber Command Memorial which was unveiled by HM Queen Elizabeth 11 in June 2012, two weeks prior to The British 10k London Run in Diamond Jubilee Olympic year with Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner as backdrop.

Runners also passed The Ritz, St. James’s Palace, Trafalgar Square, the magnificent St. Paul’s Cathedral, the unique London Eye, the world’s most famous clock Big Ben, the British Houses of Parliament, the historic Westminster Abbey before finishing on Whitehall (the portal of British Government) at the junction of Royal Horse Guards and Banqueting House after passing Downing Street  (the official London residence of British Prime Ministers) and The Cenotaph, the national memorial to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Nor Ali and Matiin ran the British 10K, alongside two other Chevening scholars Ruth Garnet Maran and Francisco Borquez Electorat, for a charity called ‘SOS Children: Sponsor a Child’, a UK based charity aimed at looking after and caring for children who have lost their parents through war, famine, disease or poverty.

Nor Ali said, “Participating in the British 10K London Run was truly an amazing experience! As an avid marathon runner myself, I feel blessed to be a part of this prestigious event, as well as fortunate to be able to run for the very first time across one of the world’s greatest route through the heart of the City of Westminster and the City of London. Despite the summer heat and the challenge of running alongside 30,000 runners, it still felt great knowing that we were raising funds for the benefit of SOS Children together in a team. It really made it a worthwhile experience for me and for three other Chevening scholars. I’m definitely going to cherish these moments, and I’m glad that I was able to use my time here to help SOS Children make a bigger difference in the lives of underprivileged children under their care.”

Our two boys running
Our two boys running

Matiin said, “’The British 10K experience was rewarding and exhilarating! The run is a popular summer event held in the beautiful city of London. Our Chevening team was lucky enough to be a part of this and why I say this is rewarding for me is because it gave me the chance to be run for a charitable cause: the SOS Children Charity which supports  children in need through education and improving their livelihoods. I ran alongside my fellow Chevening scholar, Norali, and two other Chevening scholars. We started our run at the Wellington Arch, passed the Piccadilly area, along the Embankment and River Thames overlooking the London eye and making a u-turn to the Parliament Building and Westminster Abbey to the finishing line! Overall, a great running experience with glimpses of the stunning London monuments and landmarks along the way.”

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Chevening Scholar Norali Wrote…

Looks like it’s my turn this year to share my personal experience as a Chevening scholar! As you read on, you’ll notice it’s going to be slightly different because you’ll be reading from the unique point of view of a scholar who happens to be visually impaired. Though this is round two for me in [...]

Inside FCO London

Looks like it’s my turn this year to share my personal experience as a Chevening scholar! As you read on, you’ll notice it’s going to be slightly different because you’ll be reading from the unique point of view of a scholar who happens to be visually impaired.

Though this is round two for me in the UK, it is still my first time studying in central London. So far all I can say is that it’s definitely a big change from the peace and tranquillity of Exeter University where I spent a year doing my in-service PGCE course back in 2010. This time round I chose King’s College London, where I’m currently taking a one year full-time Masters course in Inclusive Education and Technology.

A Taste of City Life

Arriving in London just a few days before the start of my course was rather hectic but exhilarating nonetheless. Sure I was exhausted after the 16 hour flight but the hustle and bustle of city life was more than enough to wake me despite being jet lagged. Everything just seemed new and exciting and the apparent cultural differences of this super diverse city were so overwhelming! Just imagine finding every language and culture, and I do mean every nationality of the world in one huge busy concrete jungle!

At London Eye
Me and Big Ben
walking Tour at St. James Park

Mobility & Independence Training

Within a week I managed to settle into my cosy flat apartment in Bayswater, which by chance happened to be a minute’s walking distance to both Bayswater and Queensway tube stations. To get to King’s, all I had to do was walk straight to either one, which might have been easier if I still had my sight. Fortunately, the Chevening secretariat had already considered this and so arranged for an orientation and mobility instructor to get me started.

The weekly mobility training sessions commenced almost immediately, covering the basic route to the nearest tube with much of the training taking place underground. All stations have a VIP (Visually Impaired Person) service that provides assistance to get on and off the train – but not to accompany you whilst on the train. Just show up at the ticket floor and a gracious member of staff will always be there to lend a helping hand.

waiting for the train at Bond Street

I remember my first time travelling alone on the tube. It was my first taste of independence after all the training and the realisation of being unaccompanied by my instructor was a frightening one. Sure my father was around but he was advised against interfering with the set programme – except for taking candid pictures while hiding in the background. So it forced me to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. But as the nerves slowly started to slip away I found myself gaining the courage and the confidence, and I knew then that I could do anything in the world if I just took the time to move out of my comfort zone. By mid-October, I was moving back and forth to KCL and other key places on my own. And now the tube has become my own personal playground!

Life at King’s College

My MA course officially started on the third week of September. At first I was overwhelmed by the amount of critical reading we had to do but after a while I developed a good routine and even made friends with other international students. So far the course has been insightful and I was initially dumbfounded with how little I knew about the subject of e-inclusion. But this is exactly why scholars travel abroad- to grow and learn and think outside the box.

With regards to my unique learning needs, the support I received at KCL has been nothing short of amazing. Here inclusion wasn’t just lip service – a culture of accessibility was evidently seen as the norm rather than an afterthought. All my core readings and hand-outs for instance were provided as needed, and in a format that I could easily access.

To make full use of KCL’s wealth of academic resources, assistive technology rooms equipped with high-tech equipment’s were readily set up in the library to level the playing field for students like myself. Support workers were allocated if or when I needed sighted assistance during field work or in class. My lecturers are delightful to work with and are always willing to make adaptations to their teaching styles. Even my all-ladies course mates did their part by rallying each other around to wait for me at the Waterloo tube station so we could walk together onto campus.

Surviving and Thriving

Though studying is my main priority, the Chevening experience isn’t just about cramming tonnes of theories and ideas into my head. Being in central London, there is obviously so much I can do and learn beyond what is given in my reading list.

As soon as I had settled in, I set out to join the KCL running club. By then winter was close approaching so I needed to burn that extra belly blubber. Despite being blind, and my apparently bulging mid-section, the club was still enthusiastic about having me on board! As if that wasn’t enough, I even joined the local gym at Bayswater which was a convenient 5 mins walk from my flat. Sure registration was easy, but when it came to showing up for the sessions, procrastinating took over immediately!

Meet the KCL & UCL running club

Looking around, inclusive practices weren’t just limited to university life and the underground tube. The city environment is reconditioned with accessibility in mind. Conveniently, walkways have tactile markings on the ground to guide and enable mobility for the blind. Access ramps for wheelchairs are everywhere and not outrageously placed behind buildings anymore. In the cinema, certain movies would be audio described and I especially loved it when I found out that my Sky box at home offered the same feature for no extra charge!

My personal favourite was the touch tours at the British Museum where I was encouraged to literally trace my fingers all over the ancient Egyptian artefacts. Even logging on to internet banking became an easy experience because, unlike back home, the bank provided me with a talking security key!

Reflecting back, the past few months has certainly changed me in more ways than I thought possible. One thing for sure is that I’ll never again complain about the humid heat back home! I still have a long way to go but I think it’s safe to say that my brief time here has opened my mind to new perspectives on what it really means to be an inclusive society.

With two other Malaysian chevening scholars
At the United Nations, Geneva

Clearly, living in the city has opened up more doors for me. I feel more empowered here and I believe that it’s this society’s positive interpretation of diversity that has made social inclusion for me a reality. By no means is it perfect but it’s what I’ll take away from my experiences here that will hopefully encourage me to one day embark on initiatives that will make a positive difference in the lives of our differently able community back home.

Like many things in life, I’m glad I went all the way for the Chevening scholarship. My heartfelt gratitude goes out especially to the members of the Chevening committee at the British High Commission in Brunei for presenting me with this prestigious scholarship award. Special thanks also goes to my Head and Deputy Head at the Special Education Unit, Ministry of Education for their continuous support and unfaltering faith in my work. Last but not least, my utmost gratitude to my loving parents and family for always encouraging me to pursue my dreams despite the odds and challenges ahead.

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Inside FCO London

Looks like it’s my turn this year to share my personal experience as a Chevening scholar! As you read on, you’ll notice it’s going to be slightly different because you’ll be reading from the unique point of view of a scholar who happens to be visually impaired.

Though this is round two for me in the UK, it is still my first time studying in central London. So far all I can say is that it’s definitely a big change from the peace and tranquillity of Exeter University where I spent a year doing my in-service PGCE course back in 2010. This time round I chose King’s College London, where I’m currently taking a one year full-time Masters course in Inclusive Education and Technology.

A Taste of City Life

Arriving in London just a few days before the start of my course was rather hectic but exhilarating nonetheless. Sure I was exhausted after the 16 hour flight but the hustle and bustle of city life was more than enough to wake me despite being jet lagged. Everything just seemed new and exciting and the apparent cultural differences of this super diverse city were so overwhelming! Just imagine finding every language and culture, and I do mean every nationality of the world in one huge busy concrete jungle!

At London Eye
Me and Big Ben
walking Tour at St. James Park

Mobility & Independence Training

Within a week I managed to settle into my cosy flat apartment in Bayswater, which by chance happened to be a minute’s walking distance to both Bayswater and Queensway tube stations. To get to King’s, all I had to do was walk straight to either one, which might have been easier if I still had my sight. Fortunately, the Chevening secretariat had already considered this and so arranged for an orientation and mobility instructor to get me started.

The weekly mobility training sessions commenced almost immediately, covering the basic route to the nearest tube with much of the training taking place underground. All stations have a VIP (Visually Impaired Person) service that provides assistance to get on and off the train – but not to accompany you whilst on the train. Just show up at the ticket floor and a gracious member of staff will always be there to lend a helping hand.

waiting for the train at Bond Street

I remember my first time travelling alone on the tube. It was my first taste of independence after all the training and the realisation of being unaccompanied by my instructor was a frightening one. Sure my father was around but he was advised against interfering with the set programme – except for taking candid pictures while hiding in the background. So it forced me to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. But as the nerves slowly started to slip away I found myself gaining the courage and the confidence, and I knew then that I could do anything in the world if I just took the time to move out of my comfort zone. By mid-October, I was moving back and forth to KCL and other key places on my own. And now the tube has become my own personal playground!

Life at King’s College

My MA course officially started on the third week of September. At first I was overwhelmed by the amount of critical reading we had to do but after a while I developed a good routine and even made friends with other international students. So far the course has been insightful and I was initially dumbfounded with how little I knew about the subject of e-inclusion. But this is exactly why scholars travel abroad- to grow and learn and think outside the box.

With regards to my unique learning needs, the support I received at KCL has been nothing short of amazing. Here inclusion wasn’t just lip service – a culture of accessibility was evidently seen as the norm rather than an afterthought. All my core readings and hand-outs for instance were provided as needed, and in a format that I could easily access.

To make full use of KCL’s wealth of academic resources, assistive technology rooms equipped with high-tech equipment’s were readily set up in the library to level the playing field for students like myself. Support workers were allocated if or when I needed sighted assistance during field work or in class. My lecturers are delightful to work with and are always willing to make adaptations to their teaching styles. Even my all-ladies course mates did their part by rallying each other around to wait for me at the Waterloo tube station so we could walk together onto campus.

Surviving and Thriving

Though studying is my main priority, the Chevening experience isn’t just about cramming tonnes of theories and ideas into my head. Being in central London, there is obviously so much I can do and learn beyond what is given in my reading list.

As soon as I had settled in, I set out to join the KCL running club. By then winter was close approaching so I needed to burn that extra belly blubber. Despite being blind, and my apparently bulging mid-section, the club was still enthusiastic about having me on board! As if that wasn’t enough, I even joined the local gym at Bayswater which was a convenient 5 mins walk from my flat. Sure registration was easy, but when it came to showing up for the sessions, procrastinating took over immediately!

Meet the KCL & UCL running club

Looking around, inclusive practices weren’t just limited to university life and the underground tube. The city environment is reconditioned with accessibility in mind. Conveniently, walkways have tactile markings on the ground to guide and enable mobility for the blind. Access ramps for wheelchairs are everywhere and not outrageously placed behind buildings anymore. In the cinema, certain movies would be audio described and I especially loved it when I found out that my Sky box at home offered the same feature for no extra charge!

My personal favourite was the touch tours at the British Museum where I was encouraged to literally trace my fingers all over the ancient Egyptian artefacts. Even logging on to internet banking became an easy experience because, unlike back home, the bank provided me with a talking security key!

Reflecting back, the past few months has certainly changed me in more ways than I thought possible. One thing for sure is that I’ll never again complain about the humid heat back home! I still have a long way to go but I think it’s safe to say that my brief time here has opened my mind to new perspectives on what it really means to be an inclusive society.

With two other Malaysian chevening scholars
At the United Nations, Geneva

Clearly, living in the city has opened up more doors for me. I feel more empowered here and I believe that it’s this society’s positive interpretation of diversity that has made social inclusion for me a reality. By no means is it perfect but it’s what I’ll take away from my experiences here that will hopefully encourage me to one day embark on initiatives that will make a positive difference in the lives of our differently able community back home.

Like many things in life, I’m glad I went all the way for the Chevening scholarship. My heartfelt gratitude goes out especially to the members of the Chevening committee at the British High Commission in Brunei for presenting me with this prestigious scholarship award. Special thanks also goes to my Head and Deputy Head at the Special Education Unit, Ministry of Education for their continuous support and unfaltering faith in my work. Last but not least, my utmost gratitude to my loving parents and family for always encouraging me to pursue my dreams despite the odds and challenges ahead.

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Chevening So Far…

This article appeared in the Brunei Times today. Here’s the “director’s cut” if you will heheh ;) I’d like to express my thanks to all at FCO, BHC and British Council for all the help and support thus far! It has been over a year but it feels like just yesterday that I applied for [...]

This article appeared in the Brunei Times today. Here’s the “director’s cut” if you will heheh 😉 I’d like to express my thanks to all at FCO, BHC and British Council for all the help and support thus far!

It has been over a year but it feels like just yesterday that I applied for the Chevening Scholarship using the online application form. The thing I remember most vividly was writing the personal statement. This is what I wrote:

“As a new media & communications professional with a sociology background, I am immensely interested in the way new media and the internet have shaped profound changes in society. The way we interact with one another, be it at home, at work, or at a wider, global level, has changed with the advent of the internet and the web 2.0, and currently, the web 3.0 phenomenon. The changes are brought about at a speed unheard of before this time. Never before has an understanding of the internet and new media been more important.

In Brunei Darussalam, there is a current shortage of people with new media experience especially from a government perspective. The broadcasting portfolio, which includes new media, has recently been taken on by the Ministry of Communications, and although there may be plenty of experience in the traditional broadcasting space, I believe there is a dire need for help in the new media component of this portfolio.

By undergoing this MA course, I hope to be able to track and study these changes from a Bruneian perspective and help my country’s government and relevant agencies foresee what the trends will bring about and prepare ourselves more adequately for whatever changes these trends may bring about, particularly the negative ones. I intend to set up an Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media on Society to advise the government accordingly.

In looking for a suitable course, I was drawn to University of Leicester‘s MA in New Media and Society, particularly because of the title, which seemed very focused on my area of interest.”

Here’s what it says in the prospectus: “The MA New Media and Society course is a one-year full time taught course. It aims to provide students with a critical knowledge of the historical development and key paradigm shifts in the study of media, culture and communication and with a comprehensive grounding in the theories and research necessary for studying, analysing, and understanding media and communication processes in both national and global contexts. The course provides extensive training in communication research, methodology and theory.”

Fast forward to 20th September 2009, the last day of Ramadhan, after the final sungkai for Ramadhan this year, I was at the airport, bound for UK. To say this was a sad occasion is an understatement! Ushering in Aidil Fitri on a plane is something I have not done in a very long time.

At the airport

At the airport before departure 🙁

The 18 hour flight to London was an uneventful one broken only by a short equally uneventful stop in Dubai.

On arriving in London Heathrow, I was pleasantly surprised that there was a representative from the British Council waiting for me with a card bearing my name on it. He was there to make sure I collected my advance stipend from the right Travellex branch and to make sure I had transport to Leicester. After collecting the stipend, I then told the gentleman that I had a coach from the University waiting to take me to Leicester. I thanked him and bade him farewell.

There were over 140 other students arriving at Heathrow on that morning, all bound for Leicester! And the next 3 hours were spent waiting for all groups to arrive. During the wait, friendships were made and numbers exchanged.

4252340933_4b3d53cd46_o

My new friend Susanna from Germany enjoying a sandwich during the pitstop

[continue reading…]

This article appeared in the Brunei Times today. Here’s the “director’s cut” if you will heheh 😉 I’d like to express my thanks to all at FCO, BHC and British Council for all the help and support thus far!

It has been over a year but it feels like just yesterday that I applied for the Chevening Scholarship using the online application form. The thing I remember most vividly was writing the personal statement. This is what I wrote:

“As a new media & communications professional with a sociology background, I am immensely interested in the way new media and the internet have shaped profound changes in society. The way we interact with one another, be it at home, at work, or at a wider, global level, has changed with the advent of the internet and the web 2.0, and currently, the web 3.0 phenomenon. The changes are brought about at a speed unheard of before this time. Never before has an understanding of the internet and new media been more important.

In Brunei Darussalam, there is a current shortage of people with new media experience especially from a government perspective. The broadcasting portfolio, which includes new media, has recently been taken on by the Ministry of Communications, and although there may be plenty of experience in the traditional broadcasting space, I believe there is a dire need for help in the new media component of this portfolio.

By undergoing this MA course, I hope to be able to track and study these changes from a Bruneian perspective and help my country’s government and relevant agencies foresee what the trends will bring about and prepare ourselves more adequately for whatever changes these trends may bring about, particularly the negative ones. I intend to set up an Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media on Society to advise the government accordingly.

In looking for a suitable course, I was drawn to University of Leicester‘s MA in New Media and Society, particularly because of the title, which seemed very focused on my area of interest.”

Here’s what it says in the prospectus: “The MA New Media and Society course is a one-year full time taught course. It aims to provide students with a critical knowledge of the historical development and key paradigm shifts in the study of media, culture and communication and with a comprehensive grounding in the theories and research necessary for studying, analysing, and understanding media and communication processes in both national and global contexts. The course provides extensive training in communication research, methodology and theory.”

Fast forward to 20th September 2009, the last day of Ramadhan, after the final sungkai for Ramadhan this year, I was at the airport, bound for UK. To say this was a sad occasion is an understatement! Ushering in Aidil Fitri on a plane is something I have not done in a very long time.

At the airport

At the airport before departure 🙁

The 18 hour flight to London was an uneventful one broken only by a short equally uneventful stop in Dubai.

On arriving in London Heathrow, I was pleasantly surprised that there was a representative from the British Council waiting for me with a card bearing my name on it. He was there to make sure I collected my advance stipend from the right Travellex branch and to make sure I had transport to Leicester. After collecting the stipend, I then told the gentleman that I had a coach from the University waiting to take me to Leicester. I thanked him and bade him farewell.

There were over 140 other students arriving at Heathrow on that morning, all bound for Leicester! And the next 3 hours were spent waiting for all groups to arrive. During the wait, friendships were made and numbers exchanged.

4252340933_4b3d53cd46_o

My new friend Susanna from Germany enjoying a sandwich during the pitstop

(more…)

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